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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

XVI
GOVERNMENT BY MARTIAL LAW
281
so long as the present political turmoil continues, most of them deem it wise either merely to mark time or else to swim with the current of extreme Nationalism, even if they are not af heart only too willing to do so. The Bar, which is a great political institution in the provinces as well as in Cairo, is ultra-Nationalist almost to a man, and the countryside swarms with students from El Azhar, who are given almost unlimited leave to carry on in the rural districts an anti-British propaganda, upon which the authorities deem it ^prudent to turn a blind eye. The Party of Independence even sends round quite openly its emissaries to collect subscriptions for its funds, and officials themselves help to circulate the lists.
The British Residency and the British officials have been scarcely less hampered by the uncertainty of the future. They could not know what would be the outcome of the ililner Commission, which has been hanging over them since May, 1919, and though Lord Allenby at last brought out with him in November a declaration of policy which has been from time to time accentuated by forcible speeches from British Ministers, the mere fact of the Miner Commission's presence in Cairo was naturally taken to indicate that that declaration had yet to be finally interpreted, and that its interpretation might substantially modify the meaning originally attached to it. On the other hand, Englishmen continued to be brought out to join the Egyptian public services, and appointments, sometimes rather questionable, were made just as if the whole question of the employment of Englishmen were not to come under review by the Commission. If the only element of real stability was provided by martial law, its application was sometimes strangely perplexing. Arrests and internments took place from time to time for reasons which the Egyptian public found it as hard to understand as the subsequent orders of release. Whilst special tribunals had dealt summarily with the minor fry caught red-handed in the rebellion, the real wirepullers had been allowed to escape scot-free, and even Under-Secretaries of State who to rely upon themselves. Governors and sub-governors do not know where to look for guidance, and                            ^